A lot of clients are interested in photography, and will ask me questions about my gear and what tools I use to get my job done. So I thought I would do a blog post about what's in my bag, and more importantly, why!
Nikon D600 - This is my main camera. I use this camera most of the time. I upgraded to this camera when I wanted to explore video more. I will discuss this a little later. What I love about this camera is:
* It has 24MP, this is enough to be fantastic, but not so much that you need a new computer to process your images
* The ISO performance is incredible. When shooting in low light, you may need to increase your ISO. Sometimes, a lot. This camera has usable images all the way past any ISO I use in regular sessions.
* If you happen to underexpose an image, you can adjust your exposure in post without getting very much noise at all. This sets this camera apart from the D700
* It has dual memory card slots. I use both, so that I am backing up on the go. I have had a memory card fail on me before, and I never want to be in a position again where I am at the mercy of a recovery program (thankfully, the program worked!)
* It has video. I believe more and more that video is our future. I love looking at stills of my children, but as they have grown, those sweet videos that capture their expression, their squeaky, high voices and their cute mannerisms are incredibly precious to me. I want to give this to my clients, too.
The biggest downfall of this camera is the oil problem, that Nikon seems unwilling to address. Unfortunately, I've had this issue twice now, so this camera is not one I would recommend for a landscape photographer.
Nikon D700 - This is my backup camera. When you hire a professional, you are hiring someone who has a plan B, should plan A fail. From time to time, cameras will misbehave, and thus, we have a backup. The D700 is old technology now, but it's a beautiful camera. So much so, that the second hand market for this camera is strong and there is high demand for it. Lots of photographers lament that it is no longer in production. We are all hoping for a genuine replacement for this, and Nikon rumours are humming that this may be announced in September.
Speaker: I have a small bluetooth speaker in my bag. During newborn sessions, I play the MagicSleep app on my iPad, and play it through the speaker to soothe the baby (and me!)
Video Mic Pro: As mentioned above, I am loving video at the moment and I have a great mic, to ensure that the sound quality is amazing. This image looks like roadkill, though I promise, it's actually a very good mic.
I generally shoot with available light, but there are times when I might love a location without ideal lighting, or I might be trying to shoot a larger group, so I need more light so that I can close down and get everyone in focus. I have a speed light with me at all times, and I will often have a soft box with me to diffuse the light. This image was taken against a stackstone wall that I love to use. The light is limited at this location, so using the speed light in my Westcott 28" is the perfect solution to create the vision I had.
This is another image taken with a speed light bounced off the ceiling in a dark hallway;
Now we are getting to the fun (i.e. expensive) part. Lenses. Oh, sweet, sweet lenses.
Nikon 24-70mm 2.8
I love this lens. I call this my workhorse lens, as it's on my camera most of the time. The focal length is perfect for general photography, especially newborns. It's a zoom lens, so it is really versatile. Here are a couple of examples of images taken with this lens;
Nikon 70-200mm 2.8
This lens costs more than some cars, but it's totally worth it. It gives the most beautiful bokeh (pronounced boke-eh). Bokeh is the lovely background blur that you get when a client is in focus, but the background is out of focus. This lens sings when used at f2.8 at 200mm. I will often use this lens outdoors. Sometimes, I strap two cameras on a harness, and use a mixture of this lens for lovely bokeh and background compression and something wider for full family and environmental shots. These are images taken with the 70-200mm lens;
Sigma 85mm 1.4
I wasn't too sure I'd need this focal length, since I have the 70-200, however, this lens can open up to f1.4. What does this mean? More beautiful background blur, but I am not quite as far away from my subject. This is a lovely portrait lens, and I often use it for head shots. These were taken with my 85mm;
Nikon 50mm 1.4
I don't use this lens as much anymore for stills, as the 24-70mm covers this range. Where I would consider it, is in very low light. I can open up to f1.4, which will allow lots of light in. However, this lens is my go to lens when shooting video, as it is light, so it reduces camera shake and it can open up wide to create background blur.
Of course, I have a tonne of different batteries, camera straps, and spare memory cards in my bag, as you can never be too prepared. My actual bag is a Lowepro backpack. I used to have a cute handbag, but I outgrew that when I bought too much equipment. The backpack distributes the weight evenly over my shoulders, as all of that equipment weighs a lot!
I hope you have enjoyed the tour of my camera bag :)